Food assistance rushed to people fleeing conflict in Libya

BakingBusiness.com, March 29, 2011
by Jay Sjerven

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The United Nations World Food Program by March 22 moved more than 1,500 tonnes of food to eastern Libya and pre-positioned more than 6,000 tonnes of emergency food supplies for rapid shipment to people fleeing the armed conflict in that North African nation. The food agency airlifted six prefabricated warehouses, six mobile offices and other supplies from the U.N. Humanitarian Response Depot in Brindisi, Italy, to Alexandria. These units will be prepositioned in Salloum, on the Egypt-Libya border, as part of contingency planning for establishing logistics hubs inside Libya.

The W.F.P. said it was concerned about access to food inside Libya. An interagency survey conducted in Choucha camp on the Tunisia-Libya border indicated food prices in Libya surged in recent weeks with the price of flour more than doubling. Rice prices have advanced 88%, vegetable oil prices have risen 58%, and bread prices have soared 110%.Most food shops where fighting was intense were closed.

The W.F.P. indicated it was providing hot meals in the Choucha camp where thousands of civilians have taken refuge from the conflict. The agency has set up two full kitchens with the capacity to provide up to 25,000 hot meals daily. The W.F.P. also was providing hot meals at the Djerba airport in Tunisia to foreign workers who fled Libya and were seeking flights to return to their home countries.

The impact of the conflict also was felt in Egypt and Tunisia, where several communities were hard hit by the loss of remittances previously sent home by migrant workers in Libya. In response, the W.F.P. was making local purchases of 1,280 tonnes of rice, vegetable oil and fortified date bars for distribution in the southern Egyptian governorates of Assiut and Sohag, enough to feed 90,000 people for one month. In Tunisia, the W.F.P. was purchasing food locally for 280,000 people affected by the turmoil across the border.

The W.F.P. has launched a $39.2-million emergency program to provide food assistance to more than one million people in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia over a three-month period.


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